Difference Between Locke and Hobbes

Every country has its own government now. There are around sixteen types of governments. Now, mainly there are three that are being mostly used: democracy, monarchy, and dictatorship.

Both Locke and Hobbes were the first people who played important parts in introducing these government ideas to citizens of the country by publishing their respective work on its field.

John Locke and Thomas Hobbes were two very vital modern European philosophers. They had some similarities but many differences. When one liked the concept of Monarchy, the other wrote the Right to Revolution. 

Locke vs Hobbes 

The main difference between the two personalities was about their idea of government. Hobbes believed in absolutism, meaning a single person should hold complete power. Locke, on the other hand, believed in the concept of constitutionalism that is every person should have various rights that they can use if they are being illtreated, both physically or mentally.

Locke vs Hobbes

Locke is one of the few people whose contributions made their way to the United States Declaration of Independence. His most famous book is ‘Two Treatises of Government’, in which he discussed the need for a government that wasn’t the boss of the people but treated them equally.

Hobbes was one of the founders of political philosophy, he explained his views in his book ‘Leviathan’ which was inspired by a sea monster about how that powerful sea monster was undefeatable, and everybody was scared of him.

He incorporated that image of that monster ‘Levithian’ into a ruler that was strong that the people living under its rule wouldn’t try to pass their limits.

Comparison Table Between Locke and Hobbes 

Parameters of Comparison Locke Hobbes 
Known asFather of Liberalism One of the founders of modern political philosophy 
Believed in ConstitutionalismAbsolutism
Date of birth  29 Aug 1632 5 Apr 1588 
On the ruler  Equal The ruler should be above the people.
English Civil War Glorious Revolution without a big war 

What is Locke?  

Locke, or more certainly, John Locke, is known as the father of Liberalism who believed in constitutionalism. He anonymously published Two Treatises of Government in the month of December of 1689, in which he theorised his political philosophy.

The book is parted into the First Treatise and the Second Treatise.

During the first half, we see Locke fighting against the book Patriarcha written by Robert Filmer (who explained in the book the support for ‘the rule for the kings’ that means the heir of a king should govern the civilians as he would like.)

Locke found Robert’s work absurd, stating that all the members of the earth are equally created, and no one is above anyone.

In the other part of the book, the Second Treatise, Locke explains his thoughts on how people are equal and what he imagines is a reason for a government to be made. He writes in defence of constitutionalism.

The book inscribes that the rule of government should be changed if an existing government is abusing its power and is not protecting the rights of the civilians. According to him, these were: Life, Liberty, and Property. He died on 28 October 1704. 

What is Hobbes?  

“Bellum omnium contra omne”, a Latin phrase that translates ‘war of all against. In a nutshell, Thomas Hobbes believed in Monarchy through and through. This quote from his book “De Chi” is a good example of this judgment.

The quote means that all the people prefer the good of themselves as opposed to any other person.

He believed in the need for a government as otherwise, people would kill each other. He thought nobody trusts each other, and one would always put himself/herself first when they want anything.

He explained this in detail in his book- Leviathan, where he said the world before the government is: Solitary, Nasty, Brutish, Short, and poor.

The world would turn against each other for every good thing that they can achieve if there is not a person above them that they can fear. Because of that, the people would be scared of the main person above and, in turn, would behave and be within their limits.

Thus, it would create a sensible environment for everybody. Thomas Hobbes death date and year are 4 December 1679.

Main Differences Between Locke and Hobbes  

  1. Hobbes believed in the concept of monarchy. He wanted a strong leader to dictate over the people of his kingdom. He must be above all the people, and Locke was all about giving the power in the hands of people of a country, considering them equal that if the leaders are insufficient, then the people must have the power to change them as they please.
  2. Both the famous personalities had a totally different reason as to why we, even a community of people, need to have a government. Locke was favouring this point as he wanted to protect the natural rights of the people living in a certain country. That were, according to him: life, liberty, and property. Hobbes’s reason, on the other hand, was to protect people from each other.
  3. According to Hobbes, the ultimate power should belong to a single ruler of a kingdom. Locke wanted the power to be with the people.
  4. Locke believed that people are good. As totally opposite to it, Hobbes believed that people are selfish. He considered them to be nasty and how they care about securing themselves.
  5. As cleared by the name “Father of liberalism“, Locke believed in the concept of constitutionalism. That is, everyone should have equal rights. Hobbes’s theory was way different than this as he was a believer in absolutism, i.e., all the power belonging to a leader and people being lower than the leader.


Locke also strongly believed in the concept of biblical philosophy, deriving many instances from many Bible texts like Genesis. But Hobbes considered Faith in god as an issue that can arise disagreement between people.

Although he didn’t publicly accept being an atheist, many people now think so.

Though both Locke and Hobbes shared different perspectives on the state of nature. They both did have some similarities as well. Whatever the reason, they did come to the fact that a country needs to have a government for the country to run smoothly.

They also had the same views on the state of nature despite having dissimilar reasons.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/1990-58578-001
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=wFyuCwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=hobbes+and+locke&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi51dP04f3vAhX8umMGHbsWAncQ6AEwAHoECAEQAw#v=onepage&q=hobbes%20and%20locke&f=false 
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